THE project to ensure that teachers across the country are equipped with laptops has started.
The Teacher Laptop Initiative gained prominence after the Department of Education snubbed a mobile computer contract, which the South African Democratic Teachers Union nearly penned for a R330million deal with Rectron, to provide its 240000 members with ultra-mobile low-cost notebooks.
It was supposed to have been launched last July but was delayed until December.
Yesterday the project was launched at Lotus Gardens Primary School in Pretoria by Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty.
National Association of Professional Teachers Organisation of SA president Nkwai Ramasehla said: "By 2011 all teachers in the country should have laptops."
Sadtu president Thobile Ntola said it was crucial that the roll-out be monitored and evaluated.
"And beyond that we need to ensure adequate training and support for teachers on the ground," he said.
Dell-Laptitude, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, MTN, Pinnacle Technologies Holdings Limited, Sahara Systems, Telkom-Mustek, Vodacom, LG and Cell C have all been named as provisional suppliers for the first phase.
The project, managed by the Education Labour Relations Council, aims to equip about 400000 teachers in South Africa with laptops.
Qualifying teachers will receive a monthly allowance of R130 and will pay about R130. Most of the packagescost between R250 and R390 a month. The repayments are spread over five years.
Department of Basic Education spokesperson Granville Whittle said training of the teachers would happen after they bought the laptops.